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Joint town/school budget presentation to be held next week


BENNINGTON -- It may seem like an obvious thing to do, but for the first time the local school district and the Select Board will host a joint budget presentation.

"Better informed"

The presentation is on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Bennington Fire House on River Street where the Select Board normally gathers for its regular meetings. The Bennington School District Board, Mount Anthony Union Board, Southwest Career Development Center Board, Southwestern Vermont Supervisory Union Board, and the town Select Board will present their budgets.

The joint presentation is the fruit of several monthly meetings the school and town boards have held.

"The groups started meeting to discuss ways to keep each other better informed," said Town Manager Stuart Hurd.

A few years ago, the Vermont Council on Rural Development hosted a series of meetings and forums in Bennington where community leaders and members of the public met to come up with ideas to improve the community. Many things were addressed that ranged from transportation to poverty, but one take-away lesson was that the schools and town needed to communicate more about their budgets.

A citizen's tax bill is a combination of municipal taxes and state education taxes.

Hurd said the presentations will cover how the budgets are created and how tax bills are calculated. The town's is fairly straightforward, but the formula for the schools is more complex. Also being presented is what factors are driving up costs.

The presentation is the main thing generated from the meetings, but they will continue and there may be new ideas put forward.

By Keith Whitcomb Jr., Bennington Staff Writer: